Names in the News: Wage ’12 on Altruism, Crossword Champ Feyer ’99, and More

MATT WAGE ’12 was featured in Nicholas Kristof’s opinion column in The New York Times as the titular “Trader Who Donates Half His Pay.” Wage, who was a philosophy major at Princeton and a student of moral philosopher Peter Singer, is now an arbitrage trader who donates half his income to charity. Wage’s efforts are an example of “effective altruism,” a movement championed by Singer that encourages people to consider all the ways they can make a positive difference and choose the one with maximum impact.

Emeritus professor TONI MORRISON is the subject of a New York Times Magazine profile that starts in the century-old barn that is now the studio where Morrison recorded the audiobooks for her latest novel, God Help the Child, and delves into her life and vision as an editor and writer.

At the 38th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, DAN FEYER ’99 took first place after beating his opponent and fellow crossword champion Tyler Hinman by a half-second. Both Feyer and Hinman had previously won five consecutive titles at the tournament, which was founded in 1978 by New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz.  Continue reading

Tiger of the Week: Stu Nunnery ’71, a Musician on the Comeback Trail

Stu Nunnery ’71 (David H. Wells/The Wells Point)

Stu Nunnery ’71 (David H. Wells/The Wells Point)

As an undergrad at Princeton, Stu Nunnery ’71 played guitar and sang at Tower Club (and at the Holiday Inn on Route 1). After college, he released an album that placed two singles on the top 100 of the pop charts. And in the decade that followed, Nunnery had a successful run composing songs for the advertising industry.

Nunnery’s life in music ended abruptly in the early 1980s, when he suffered a serious hearing loss. Relying on hearing aids, he was able to converse in everyday life, but his ability to hear music was gone.

This month, however, with help from advances in hearing-aid technology, a stint in what he calls “music rehab,” and a successful Kickstarter campaign, Nunnery is preparing to return to the recording studio to complete a new album. Continue reading

Quick Takes: Women’s Tennis Clinches Title Share; McMunn ’15 Sets Record; Men’s Lacrosse Wins Big

Katie Goepel ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Katie Goepel ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Dorothy Tang ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Dorothy Tang ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Princeton women’s tennis posted weekend wins on the road at Dartmouth (4-3 on Saturday) and Harvard (5-2 on Sunday) to improve to 5-0 season and clinch at least a share of the Ivy League championship for the second straight year.

Dorothy Tang ’17 and Katie Goepel ’15, the Tigers’ No. 5 and 6 players, earned singles wins in both matches. No. 1 singles player Lindsay Graff ’15 suffered a rare loss in a three-set match against Dartmouth’s Taylor Ng but bounced back with a win at Harvard.

Princeton completes the regular season with matches at Columbia April 17 and at home against Cornell April 19. Continue reading

ACLU’s Romero ’87: Working Through ‘Tough’ Civil Liberties Challenges Defines the U.S.

What defines us as a nation is our willingness to struggle through tough circumstances, said Anthony Romero ’87, director of the American Civil Liberties Union, during an Apr. 8 lecture at the Friend Center for Engineering. Romero spoke about some of the greatest challenges to civil liberties today, including LGBT rights, mass incarceration, immigration, abortion, and surveillance.

Romero criticized political extremism and scapegoating for their detrimental role in many of these policy areas — for example, anti-abortion laws and the categorization of drugs as a criminal rather than public health issue.

He also commended the millennial generation for its activist impact on policy — and lawmakers. Addressing the issue of surveillance and Internet restriction, Romero said, “I think your insistence that the Internet be free, that it be open, but not subject to government surveillance … is really your generation’s carrying of the torch.” Continue reading

Peter Slevin ’78’s Biography Examines the Life of Michelle Obama ’85

Peter Slevin (Andrew Johnston)

Peter Slevin ’78 (Andrew Johnston)

In 2014, first lady Michelle Obama ’85 told a group of students “to never, ever listen to the doubters,” and cited a moment from her undergraduate years to illustrate her message. She recalled a Princeton professor whose class she had aced telling her, “You’re not the hottest thing I’ve seen coming out of the gate.” Wounded, she decided “that I was going to do everything in my power to make that man regret those words,” she said. Obama worked doubly hard for him as a research assistant and eventually won his praise, concluding that she had shown “not just my professor, but myself, what I was capable of achieving.”

That anecdote is one of many in Michelle Obama: A Life by Peter Slevin ’78. The book is a comprehensive account of her life, from her childhood in a working-class, largely segregated Chicago neighborhood to her role as “the unlikeliest first lady in modern history,” according to Slevin. A former Chicago bureau chief for The Washington Post who began reporting on Obama during her husband’s run for the presidency in 2007, Slevin is a professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

The book takes a detailed look at Obama’s parents and extended family, and devotes a chapter to her years at Princeton, of which she once said, “As a black girl from the south side of Chicago, I wasn’t supposed to go to Princeton, because [my high school counselors] said my test scores were too low.” Slevin interviewed Obama twice during her husband’s 2008 campaign but did not speak to her for the book. He interviewed her friends, relatives, colleagues, professors, and mentors. Continue reading

#ThrowbackThursday: Meet Me at the Sundial

(Elizabeth Menzies/PAW Archives)

(Elizabeth Menzies/PAW Archives)

For more than 100 years, the Mather Sundial — a replica of Charles Turnbull’s Pelican Sundial at Oxford’s Corpus Christi College — has been a recognizable campus landmark and gathering spot for students like the ones pictured above, between classes in 1950. At the time, only seniors were allowed to sit on the sundial’s steps. That tradition faded in the 1960s.

As PAW contributor W. Barksdale Maynard ’88 wrote in 2013, within a few years of its 1907 dedication, the sundial “quickly became a Princeton icon, much photographed and filmed, from a 1925 home movie showing students scurrying to class to a 1977 television commercial starring Joe DiMaggio.”